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According to a twitter round-up this morning on U-T San Diego's website, Chargers players and cheerleaders are paying surprise visits around town today, including one to the paper's newsroom, where they were photographed with beaming staff members.

Meanwhile, with little notice and zero local fanfare, U.S. taxpayers are about to be hit up for an unspecified amount of cash so that the California National Guard can have bragging rights as an official sponsor of the team, owned by members of the wealthy Spanos family of Stockton. The clan has frequently backed critics of federal spending, including Republican Texas governor Rick Perry.

Other bidders apparently need not apply.

A "notice of intent to award a contract sole source to Chargers Football Company, LLC, " posted June 3 on the procurement website of the General Services Administration tells the tale:

The California Army National Guard has a requirement to purchase a paid sponsorship with the NFL's San Diego Chargers for recruitment purposes. The California Army National Guard intends to award a contract to Chargers Football Company, LLC, 4020 Murphy Canyon Rd, San Diego, CA 92123 on a sole source basis, under the authority of FAR 6.302-1,

Only one responsible source and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements. The contract will be awarded as an initial base year, and followed by four (4) option years. This is not a request for competitive quotes or proposals.

The G.S.A. justifies the expenditure thusly:

The NFL San Diego Chargers are a unique and sole source for the needs of the CAANG Recruiting and Retention Battalion due to their state location and proximity, expertise and visibility, management, responsiveness, knowledge of program requirements, experience of marketing personnel, and the program of sponsorship that the San Diego Chargers offers.

Judging from the notice, some partying may be involved:

The following required elements shall be delivered under this contract: A media backdrop branding for all ten (10) San Diego Charger home games to be used during media coverage and interviews; one 30 second commercial during each game broadcast on the Chargers Radio Network; two 30 second commercials during each game broadcast on the Chargers Hispanic Radio Network; National Guard Flag Brigade; Training Camp Hospitality; Training Camp Roster/autograph cards; Power Party Kiosk for eight (8) Chargers regular season home games; Presenting sponsor, chargers coach of the week/year program; Presenting sponsor, Alex Spanos all-star classic; In-stadium display for eight (8) Chargers Regular season home games.

Although the notice makes clear the unique description of the services to be rendered, it adds:

Interested parties may identify their interest and capability to respond to the requirement, in writing, no later than the response date of July 3, 2013.

Though no cost is listed, the deal appears similar to a sponsorship arrangement reached in 2011 between the team and the UCSD Health System.

As we reported that August:

The university has agreed to pay the Chargers $300,000 this year for a variety of sponsorship rights and promotional opportunities. Next season, the cost to UCSD goes up to $318,000, then to $337,080 in 2013, and finally to $357,304 in 2014.

What do they get for their cash? According to the contract with the Chargers, the university is the exclusive “Hospital and Healthcare Systems” sponsor of the team’s “Women’s Club program and any other related Chargers female fan initiatives.”

UCSD has the right to “year-round use of Chargers logos and marks in connection with the Chargers Women’s Club and other approved promotional events such as a player appearance.”

Also included in the agreement is the “Training Camp Chalk Talk,” a private practice session for “up to one hundred fifty people on a mutually agreed upon date in August.” Attendees can be members of the “Chargers Women’s Club or UCSD employees,” and the event will feature a “Chalk Talk with a Chargers Alumni, autographed merchandise for raffle,” and “coach and player autograph opportunities.”

Kim Kennedy, executive director of marketing and communications for UC Health, says those tickets will be distributed to employees.

The deal’s most attractive perk: four club level season tickets and two parking passes.

Kennedy says they will be used for such purposes as hosting prospective clinical faculty members during recruiting visits to the campus.

We've left a message seeking further details, including the price to the government of the Army's deal, on the voicemail of the G.S.A. staffer listed as the "point of contact" for the arrangement.

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